POSTS WITH TAG: vaccines

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    When you hear vaccine advocacy, what's the first thing that comes to mind? A doctor in a white coat? A scientist with a microscope? How about a couple of moms, fighting for kids across America?

    Karen Ernst is one of those moms, and with partner Ashley Shelby, she has helped turn Voices for Vaccines, a fledgling website about infectious diseases, into the number one source for parents looking to fight anti-vaccine fear-mongering. With a scientific advisory board that includes world renowned pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit, they're an arm of the Task Force for Global Health that's completely parent-driven ... and completely parent-focused.

    The Stir asked Ernst, a mother of three from Minnesota, why she thinks every mom in America needs to announce to her family and friends when she gets her kids vaccinated -- and how to deal with anti-vaccine rhetoric.

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    Worried about vaccines? Join the club. An estimated two-thirds of parents do some research online before deciding whether or not to allow a doctor to vaccinate their child. And now they've got a little something to set their minds at ease. A new study is out in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- backed by the federal government -- with some strong statements about vaccine safety.

    Researchers reviewed some 67 studies -- including studies that looked at how multiple vaccines in childhood affect kids, the controversy over whether the MMR vaccination is linked to autism, and the influenza or "flu" vaccine -- to determine whether childhood shots, specifically those for kids 6 and younger, were safe.

    Are you ready for this?

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    There are varying policies in place regarding a child's vaccinations and school. Parents aren't all going to agree on this -- as we are all aware vaccines are a hot topic and have been a trigger for many a heated debate. It's still a subject that must be addressed, and there is a way to do it in which we respect other people's beliefs and views. But with all the variables involved, the topic of vax or no vax ends up with mostly everyone feeling frustrated. And the frustration is only going to grow if more places follow a federal judge's rulling that it's OK to ban unvaccinated students from school during illnesses or outbreaks.

    The judge's ruling means it's OK that three children were barred from attending school in New York City because other kids had chicken pox.

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    Whether it was a rumor made pervasive by a celebrity with zero medical experience or not, fact is, there are still many parents out there who worry about there being a connection to vaccinations and autism. (And a good portion of them don't vaccinate because of that.) But a new study out of the University of Sydney appears to have settled this debate once and for all, giving peace of mind to parents who question the medical decisions they make for their children (read: all of us).

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    Way back in 1998, a mom in Tampa, Florida, named Sarah Pope "opted out" of vaccinating her first child. A decade and a half later, the author of the site The Healthy Home Economist admits that as a member of a family of doctors and nurses (both her father and brother are doctors of internal medicine, and her mother-in-law is an RN), "it took a lot" for her to reach a conclusion at odds with what she was raised to believe. Nonetheless, to this day, she says she's still "very happy" with her decision not to vaccinate all three of her children, who are now 15, 12, and 9 years old.

    Sarah talked to The Stir about how she arrived at what some see as a controversial decision, what she's experienced as a result, and what she has to say to her opposition.

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    More and more parents in the United States are choosing not to vaccinate their children for religious, philosophical, health and other reasons. Anti-vaxxers, as they're called, run the gamut across the political and geographical spectrum. Overall, more than 10 percent of parents are either delaying when their children are vaccinated or not getting the shots at all.

    The decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child is a personal one, but make it a well-informed one. Ask questions. Do your research. Talk to your pediatrician. Your decision affects not only your child, but the people around them (at school, at church, on the playground, at the grocery store, and so on). Understanding the risks of not vaccinating your child is an important part of the decision-making process.

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    Oh. My. Word. You may have heard by now that Alicia Silverstone wrote a parenting book. You know, the woman who parlayed a few seconds in an Aerosmith music video into a starring role in the '90s teen flick and made "as if" the put-down of a generation? The now C-list (or is it D-list?) actress is better known for her controversial mom moves of late, so it was really only a matter of time before The Kind Mama landed on the same shelves already populated by books from Mayim Bialik, Brooke Burke, and dozens of other celebrities who have become "experts" in the field of parenting simply by spawning while famous.

    But where many of her predecessors have managed to fly under the radar with some not terrible but not terribly great "momoirs," Silverstone's book pushes some hot mom buttons, from vaccines (she doesn't believe in 'em) to co-sleeping (she's a fan).

    And suddenly we're being treated to a raft of celeb mom parenting book hate.

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    For any parent who's ever taken their baby for a shot -- do I even need to say it? -- it's awful. The screaming; the tiny red face; the look your baby gives you when the doctor pulls away with that gigantic needle that just stabbed them that says, "You. You did this to me. Traitor!" It's truly one of the worst feelings a parent can have. And few things on this Earth can rival the awfulness of the very first one. Horrible.

    But take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. It's a rite of passage all parents go through (one we were never warned about when we were pregnant!). So, let's unite, Moms and Dads. Here are the 12 stages we all go through when our poor babies get their first shot.

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    In her new book, The Kind Mama, Alicia Silverstone covers everything from her pregnancy to her beliefs on circumcision and vaccination. Though the book has only been out for two days, it's already got tongues wagging, as does a recent interview the famous vegan actress did with People about her parenting philosophies, in which she says she's "not against Western medicine. The problem is we’re using it as a first step for everything, even when it’s not needed."

    Alicia deserves applause for bravely putting that sentiment out there! She's right: We are far too quick to jump to conventional medicine "fixes" -- which can be disappointingly closer to temporary bandages than true cures -- for too many of our ailments.

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    A mother from Ontario, Canada is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for her family today after a Facebook photo of her 5-week-old daughter Brielle went viral. Meghan Mcnutt-Anderson's daughter contracted pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the lungs and airways that is especially dangerous in infants. In serious cases, it can cause vomiting, weight loss, pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and even death.

    Understandably beside herself upon learning of her child's diagnosis, Mcnutt-Anderson took to the social media site last week to post a photo of Brielle and update friends and family on the emotional situation. But she also ended up sending a warning to parents who choose not to vaccinate their children ...

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